2016 NFL Football Predictions Week 1

Every NFL football season I fire up my prediction program. I call it Zoltar. Just for fun, I created a little Zoltar machine that uses speech recognition to speak the results, but really all the work is done behind the scenes.

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Anyway, for week 1 of the 2016 NFL season, Zoltar’s predictions are quite close to the Las Vegas betting line. In most of the 16 games, Zoltar agrees with Vegas with regards to which team will simply win the game. The one main exception (Zoltar sometimes predicts a virtual tie game) is that Zoltar believes the Redskins will beat the Steelers but Vegas has the Steelers winning.

Zoltar:    panthers  by    0  over     broncos
Zoltar:       colts  by    5  over       lions
Zoltar:     packers  by    1  over     jaguars
Zoltar:     bengals  by    0  over        jets
Zoltar:      texans  by    6  over       bears
Zoltar:     vikings  by    5  over      titans
Zoltar:    seahawks  by    6  over    dolphins
Zoltar:      eagles  by    6  over      browns
Zoltar:   cardinals  by    5  over    patriots
Zoltar:       bills  by    0  over      ravens
Zoltar:      giants  by    0  over     cowboys
Zoltar:      chiefs  by   10  over    chargers
Zoltar:     falcons  by    6  over  buccaneers
Zoltar:      saints  by    3  over     raiders
Zoltar:        rams  by    0  over fortyniners
Zoltar:    redskins  by    1  over    steelers

Zoltar recommends betting when the difference between the Zoltar predictions and the Vegas point spread is more than 3 points. For week 1, Zoltar has three suggestions:

Zoltar predicts the Packer will beat the Jaguars by just 1 point but Vegas says the Packers will win by 5.5 points. So, Zoltar recommends betting on the Vegas underdog Jaguars vs. the Packers (you’ll win if the Jaguars win outright or if the Packers win but by less than the Vegas line of 5.5 points).

Zoltar predicts the Seahawks will beat the Dolphins by just 6 points but Vegas says the Seahawks will win by 10.5 points. So, Zoltar recommends betting on the Vegas underdog Dolphins vs. the Seahawks (you’ll win if the Dolphins win outright or if the Seahawks win but by less than the Vegas line of 10.5 points).

Zoltar predicts the Redskins will beat the Steelers by 1 point but Vegas says the Steelers will win by 3.0 points. So, Zoltar recommends betting on the Vegas underdog Redskins vs. the Steelers (you’ll win if the Redskins win outright or if the Steelers win but by less than the Vegas line of 3.0 points).

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4 Responses to 2016 NFL Football Predictions Week 1

  1. Do you mind me asking what ML algorithm Zoltar is based on or is that a trade secret?

    • The algorithm is a ranking/rating approach. Basically, when a team wins it gets rating points and when a team loses, it loses rating points. In an upcoming game, the predicted margin of victory depends on the difference in ratings, and also factors including home field advantage, key injuries (statistically only four positions matter with regards to injuries), and a few other things. Of course, it’s all in the details — how many rating points to add and subtract, how much is the home field worth, etc.

      I don’t post the exact algorithm because a.) it’s too long, and b.) I hope someday to convince my company to investigate formally (I just do Zoltar for fun, on weekends). JM

  2. Tough weekend for the Zoltar….

    It looks like he and the Vegas’s picks had the same results. Do you know if he had better results than Bing’s picks or any other expert’s picks?

    Thanks!
    WF

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